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Best Free Food Tour San Francisco 2005 -

Scharffen Berger

914 Heinz (at Eighth Street), Berkeley, (510) 981-4066, www.scharffenberger.com

The Bay Area boasts a holy trinity of chocolatiers (Ghirardelli, Joseph Schmidt, and Scharffen Berger), which proffer their exceptional morsels of delight to decaying teeth all over the world. Ghirardelli is an obvious tourist attraction, and you might have to know Mr. Schmidt himself to get in on one of the special private tours there, but Scharffen Berger offers free factory tours every day. On this journey through the production process, those interested in the intricacies can learn about the functions of the winnower (a fancy bean cracker/sifter) and the melangeur (a mixer/grinder), while those simply waiting to scarf the Scharffen can partake. If you're aching for more sweets after the free tastes on the tour, the attached Cafe Cacao offers full meals plus a host of decadent chocolate desserts (such as a bittersweet chocolate rum tart and chocolate-cardamom soufflé).

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